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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

(Re)imagining the classroom culture to enable authentic student self-assessment in Higher Education

Duffy, Kate (2023) (Re)imagining the classroom culture to enable authentic student self-assessment in Higher Education. In: Assessment in HE conference (Hosted in Manchester 22-23 June 2023, 22nd - 23 June 2023, Manchester, UK. (Submitted)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Curriculum design and pedagogical practice in Higher Education (HE) is placing greater value on activity which fosters student autonomy. Degree outcomes and assessment activity are increasingly designed to allow students more options to choose from in relation to how they learn and perhaps how they choose to demonstrate their learning. Additionally, creating opportunities for students to make informed judgments about the quality of their work have the potential to develop further student autonomy. Interventions for student self-assessment tend to distinguish between formative and summative assessment and allow for varying degrees of student autonomy in each. With the responsibility for summative judgments generally residing with the teacher, this was viewed as the end of the learning process (Sadler & Sambell 2022). The opportunity for students to engage more proactively with their summative feedback and to be able to use it in a formative way to develop the quality of their work was a motivation for this action research study. The study has evaluated the Taras (2015) model for Integrated Student Self-Assessment (ISSA) which was adopted within an undergraduate degree programme. The model was chosen because it has the potential to shift the power dynamic between teacher and student by fostering co-creation at every step of the teaching, learning, assessment, and feedback process. Underpinned by social constructivism and dialogue, it values a shared responsibility towards the process and product of assessment with students equally able to make reliable and trusted judgments on their work. The approach relies upon a commitment to establishing a shared understanding of the assessment criteria which students can use to produce their best work and identify ways to improve it (Sadler, 1989).
This paper will first explain how ISSA differs from the standard models of student self-assessment . It will then outline the initial aims and objectives of the UKRI funded action research project, and highlight key learning points from the views of both teachers and students through two cycles of the research process. Data was collected using a mix of methods that would value the voices of students and teachers as they experience assessment together. Narrative accounts, reflections and questionnaires were collected from the teacher and the students to capture their experience of ISSA. This was triangulated with the content of student feedback and achievement and attainment data for the cohort. The findings revealed the assumptions made by the teacher and students in relation to self-assessment and student autonomy and they revealed the limiting factors created by assessment policy and organizational expectations. Findings also highlighted the need for a re-imagining of the classroom culture to enable an authentic shift towards co-creation at every step of the process. The findings also reveal the challenges towards making this pedagogical shift to co-creation. The re-imagining of classroom culture requires a deeper understanding of teacher beliefs, (Biesta, Priestley & Robinson, 2015) student expectations and organizational constraints in relation to assessment practices and student autonomy.

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Depositing User: Kate Duffy


Item ID: 16686

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ORCID for Kate Duffy: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2023 10:52
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2023 10:52


Author: Kate Duffy ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Education


Education > Higher Education

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